Cost-of-living takes teachers back to school

Simon Rake, head of education at the Wesleyan Financial Services, the specialist financial services firm for teachers, discusses new data about how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting teachers and shares practical advice for managing your money.


Increased costs are affecting us all. For teachers, who’s pay increases have trailed behind inflation for years, the cost-of-living crisis is even more difficult.


Costly energy bills, increasing mortgage rates and expensive weekly food shops are all putting pressure on already stretched pay packets.


Taking action


New research from Wesleyan Financial Services has revealed that many teachers are planning on taking action to help manage their finances through this challenging time – with some surprising results.


While most teachers are already committing far and above their contracted hours, one in 12 teachers said they planned to increase their working hours because of rising prices. Putting additional pressure on themselves to work even harder, for even longer.


A further one in ten (8%) said they would take on more hours in their role to help boost their income.


But perhaps most surprisingly, one in six teachers said they would delay their retirement to help them through the cost-of-living crisis.


As we hear from some teachers that they expect their financial situation to get worse in the next twelve months, here are tips to help teachers manage their finances.


Put proper plans in place


When money is tight it can feel tempting to bury your head in the sand, but this only kicks problems into the long grass, where they can build into more complex issues.


Start by looking at your expenditure and assessing what income you need to cover those costs. Then, if you can, make cuts to non-essential spending such as magazine subscriptions.


For those struggling with day-to-day living costs this can feel like it won’t make much of a difference, but even small savings can quickly add up.


Once this is complete, and you’ve done a true audit of what you’ve got coming in and going out, you can start to plan for your financial future. This might include paying off a mortgage, saving for special event or putting more money away for grandchildren. Once you’ve planned what you want to achieve you can cost up your goals and start saving for them.


Cancelling policies like income protection might save a few pounds in the short term, it could leave you exposed should you find yourself needing to claim on it.



Remember the three Rs – retirement, retirement, retirement


Planning solely for short goals is not enough, there also needs to be long-term financial planning for retirement and having the pension pot in place to grant the retirement lifestyle you wish for.


Typically saving for long-term goals takes the longest amount of time and requires the most dedicated course of action – saving over years for the benefit of your future self.


With rising costs, it can be tempting to put these long-term goals on the back burner. I would advise against this and with the latest budget announcements the correct retirement planning is essential, making the most of using your TPS pension as part of your long-term savings goals.



If you’re one of the teachers who is thinking about delaying retirement, seek professional financial advice around this decision – and the implications, first.


Recognise the power of small savings


Einstein said that compound interest is the eight wonder of the world, and he may have been under playing it.


When it comes to savings, having money locked away, earning even modest interest, can made a huge difference to its value over the long-term.

Even if you’re only able to save small amounts of money irregularly, ensuring you are saving in an account that is earning the best interest rates will ensure that it maintains its spending power over the long-term.

What’s more taking advantage of tax efficient tax-wrappers like ISAs can protect any saving growth from tax liabilities.


Make the most of investments

Investing your money in a varied managed fund with exposure to assets likes stocks and shares in the market, rather than fixed rate savings accounts also creates a better chance of outstripping inflation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Products like With Profits Stocks and Shares ISAs give you access to a managed fund, led by experts who make the day-to-day decisions on which companies and assets your money is invested in.

Over time, money in the market tends to perform better than that kept in savings accounts, and can also outpace inflation, meaning your money doesn’t lose its spending power.

Of course, market volatility is a risk and there is a chance that that your investment may go down in value, but you can vary how much risk you’re prepared to take with your money.

Get financial advice


What’s for certain is that, at a time when the cost-of-living is continuing to put pressure on pay packets, teachers will find there are challenges in balancing their books.

Getting support from financial advisors that understand the unique challenges teachers face can be a huge difference. Whether you’re starting out or getting ready to retire, speaking to someone who understands your financial position, and how to best maximise it for your enjoyment is the best way forward.


For more information visit [].

Benefact Group and Ecclesiastical Insurance invest more than £90,000 to support education and skills causes

As part of the Movement for Good Awards Benefact Group and Ecclesiastical Insurance have donated £90,000 to eight charities working in the education and skills sector.

The eight charities which include Breaking Barriers, Read Easy UK, Black Swimming Association, and Happy Space have each been awarded amounts ranging from £10,000 – £50,000.

From running a network of volunteers who teach adults to read, through to helping refugees acquire skills and enter stable employment – the grants will fund essential projects and initiatives that will benefit many thousands of people across the UK.

The awards are designed to help charities make a real difference in their communities. More than 500 charities applied for the funding with the winning projects being selected against four criteria: impact and effectiveness, sustainability, innovation, and care and compassion.

Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive of Benefact Group, said: “At Benefact Group we believe business should be a force for good. More than ever, charitable causes need sustained support and a sense of financial stability. Through our Movement for Good larger-grant awards, we are championing a more imaginative way of supporting charities so that they can have some certainty in these challenging times. We know our funding can be a lifeline to those who are struggling with cost-of-living increases and a grant of this scale can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do. 

“Benefact Group is the fourth largest corporate donor in the UK and has an ambition to be the biggest. Owned by a charity, all our available profits go to good causes, and the more the Group grows, the more the Group can give. As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of what we do.”

Matt Powell, CEO and Founder of Breaking Barriers, said: “We are beyond thrilled to receive this award from Benefact Group’s Movement for Good. This is a critical time for refugee communities, and the grant will make a huge difference to our Futures Programme, which is tailored towards young refugees. Thank you so much for believing in our work – from myself, my colleagues, our volunteers and of course our refugee clients themselves.” 

Movement for Good is funded by EIO plc, part of the Benefact Group.


  • Nearly half (48%) of teachers expect not to have enough money to fund their retirement
  • Three quarters (75%) of teachers plan on leaving the profession before retirement age
  • 37% of teachers will need to keep working in some form to fund retirement after they start drawing their pension benefits

As teachers are heading back to the classrooms this term, almost half (48%) say they will not have enough money to fund their retirement – highlighting a potential retirement ‘funding gap’ within the profession according to new research from Wesleyan, the specialist financial services mutual for teachers. 


Three out of four (75%) UK teachers say they are looking to leave the profession before the normal retirement age for their pension savings, even though many haven’t saved enough to fund their retirement. 


The research also showed a trend in ‘flexi-retirement’ – teachers continuing to work after they have ‘retired’. Nearly two fifths (37%) of respondents to Wesleyan’s survey said they will need to keep working in some form after they start drawing their pension benefits.


The main reasons for doing so were to generate income for luxuries (27%) and one in six (14%) said they would need to work to ensure they could meet their basic needs.


The results found that many teachers are confused by the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). Just a third (34%) of teachers said they fully understand the TPS rules around ‘phased retirement’.


Phased retirement options give teachers the choice to access up to 75% of their pension benefits while still working and contributing to the scheme – but what they are finding confusing are the rules and regulations around working patterns and salary to access this option. Many teachers do not realise this is an option for them.


Additional research with members of the teachers’ union the NASUWT found that 22% teachers planned to take early retirement because of stress/workload pressures. A further 21% stated that they were retiring early to have a better work/life balance (21%)*.


Glen Roberts, Area Manager at Wesleyan, said: “September is a natural time to reflect on career ambitions and the new school year ahead, and it’s traditionally a month when we get a surge in enquiries about retirement planning. It is concerning to see that so many teachers are worried or confused about their retirement.


“The traditional concept of retirement as a time when people fully leave the world of work behind is becoming more and more outdated. As our findings show, teachers are increasingly choosing to work in retirement. For a small but nonetheless significant proportion, it will be a necessity so they can meet basic needs – a worrying finding.


“A financial adviser really can help make the planning process easier to manage – including helping to determine whether teachers have enough to afford the retirement they want, and how to make early or flexi-retirement possible.”


The Retirement Living Standards guideline is that an individual will need £33,600pa in retirement to live comfortably**. This means they will be able to cover everyday cost plus pay for some luxuries such as holidays and beauty treatments. However, the average pension for a male teacher is £16,034pa and £11,581pa for a female teacher.*** This would mean a shortfall in income of up to £22,019 in retirement. This shortfall will reduce to approx. £12,392 if the full flat rate state pension is paid from state pension age.***


Solar panels, living walls and heat pumps: schools are leading the way in sustainable investments


      *Solar panels, buildings using modern methods of construction and green living walls and roofs are the top sustainable investments schools are making within the next year

       *Four in five UK schools are constructing or planning to construct new buildings

       *Schools are encouraged to speak to their insurer when planning new school buildings and sustainability projects


New research1 commissioned by specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed schools are responding to the climate crisis by investing in sustainable technologies and improving the efficiency of existing buildings.


Ecclesiastical Insurance has published new guidance to help schools planning to invest in new buildings and sustainable projects manage the risks they face.


Investing in sustainable school buildings


The survey of UK school leaders discovered the most popular investments schools are making within the next year are solar PV or heating panels (45%), buildings using modern methods of construction (MMC) such as cross laminated timber and rainscreen cladding (31%), and green / living walls or roofs (31%). This is closely followed by electric vehicle charging points (31%) and triple glazing (29%).


Looking ahead to the next one to two years, schools are planning to invest in smart building management systems (46%), solar PV to battery storage (41%) and air source / ground source heat pumps (39%). Triple glazing (37%) and increased insulation such as re-cladding and insulating older buildings (37%)   are also popular planned investments within the next few years.


In the medium term, having a renewable energy supplier (32%), buildings constructed from sustainable materials (29%)   and air source / ground source heat pumps (28%)     are the top three investments schools plan to make within three to four years. Followed by wind turbines (26%)   and increased insulation (22%). 


St Andrews Church of England Primary School in Gloucestershire2 has dramatically reduced its energy consumption by installing motion sensor low energy LED lights, adding ceilings in two classrooms, adding insulation, replacing single glazed windows, and installing PV panels and air source heat pumps. These investments have helped the school improve its sustainability and achieve Net Zero carbon.


Schools under construction


Four in five (86%) of UK schools surveyed are constructing or planning to construct new buildings. Of which one in five (21%) school leaders said construction is currently taking place, while more than half (53%) will have new buildings constructed within the next one to five years. One in 10 (11%) schools plan to construct new buildings in more than five years time.


As many schools across the UK are investing in new buildings, in Wales it was recently announced that all new schools have to meet net zero targets from January 2022 and refurbishments, extensions and new builds at existing schools need to improve energy efficiency3.


Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Our latest research has found schools are investing in a variety of sustainable technologies and four in five are constructing or planning to construct new buildings. Improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of school buildings is hugely important and can present risks and challenges, particularly around combustibility, which need to be carefully managed.”


Guidance for schools investing in new buildings and sustainable projects


·         When considering a new school building or sustainability project, consult all interested parties, including your insurers at the earliest stage. Your insurer’s requirements for fire protection and building resilience may be higher than building regulations. Involve your insurer at the design and planning stage so they can work with you to mitigate risks and advise you on the fire or other protection measures needed.

·         Some materials used in MMC construction such as timber framing and sheathing boards, insulation and cladding materials are combustible. Where possible, look for alternative non-combustible materials to achieve the same sustainable results.

·         Natural materials such as hemp, wool and straw and foam based insulation products are all classified as combustible materials and used in conjunction with timber framing, or combustible cladding systems can have serious consequences for a buildings ability to withstand the effects of fire. Where possible, use a non-combustible material such as mineral wool or cellular glass to insulate your buildings.

·         When planning to install solar panels, always investigate the structural suitability of the building/roof and liaise with fire and rescue services on the location of panels and isolation switches.

·         Always use an accredited installer for the installation of any solar panels and / or biomass heating systems.    

·         Biomass heating systems can present fire and carbon monoxide poisoning risks. To reduce these risks ensure they are contained in their own fire-resisting compartment which is separated from the fuel store. Restrict access to fuel stores to authorised persons only. Clean out the boiler house regularly and remove all combustible waste, clear out fuel stores regularly, and get flues to boilers inspected and cleaned regularly by a competent person.


Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.


Ecclesiastical recently launched a new proposition, Ecclesiastical Smart Properties, which uses cutting-edge technology to discreetly monitor for escape of water and electrical fire risks in real-time. Schools piloting the technology will also have the option to expand the system to monitor other types of risks and solve a range of problems including improving energy consumption and carbon footprint reduction at an additional cost.